“Finally, all the elders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel. “Look,” they told him, “you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.” Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance. “Do everything they say to you,” the Lord replied, “for it is me they are rejecting, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.”
— 1 Samuel 8:4-9
Rejection hurts—deeply! Samuel felt it in his latter years when Israel told him they preferred a king. People were created as relationship-oriented beings. God created us to have and intimate, personal relationship with Him first, and with others second (Matthew 22:37-40). Rejection is so destructive because it rips the basic fabric of why we were created.
This week I witnessed an example of how quickly we can forget what others have done for us and how ready we are to reject. A college football coach in my state lost his job recently. For years he had been hailed as “the best thing since sliced bread” to this particular university and its sports program. He had even led his team to an undefeated season one year. The fans applauded him and treated him with “rock star” status.
This week, that same college hired a “new man.” He came to his post with great fanfare and acclaim. Everyone has forgotten the “old guy.” He became the victim of the “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” mentality.
This is nothing new. The same crowd that cried “Hosanna” to Jesus in Matthew 21 was the same crowd that cried “Crucify Him” in Matthew 27, less than a week later! What the world was saying to my Lord two thousand years ago, it says to me today: “what have you done for me lately?”
The false intimacy fostered by this attitude has lulled a majority of church-goers today into a misplaced sense of security in their relationship to God. You can see it on the television with the myriad of false prophets who spew their theology of prosperity and success. You can see it in the unstable lives of those who profess Jesus but do not possess Him. When the winds blow, their house falls because “God hasn’t done anything for them.”
If your relationship with God is based on what He is going to do for you “next,” don’t hold your breath. You are probably going to be very disappointed and go looking somewhere else for a “king.”
God did everything He could possible do for us when He gave His one and only Son. His death gives me life. His resurrection insures eternal life. What more could I ask?
If the rest of my days were consigned to pain, suffering and agony, how brief and momentary it would be compared to the life Jesus has promised through His sacrifice! What God has done for us, He has done permanently, not just lately!